Women in Technology

Hear us Roar

  Myths Open Source Developers Tell Ourselves
Subject:   Well said
Date:   2008-04-11 14:13:00
From:   anonimoose

I've been a developer for many years, and for the past 13 have been a Linux / FLOSS enthusiast... Well, really, a FLOSS enthusiast since the days of the DECsystem-10... but I digress.

Three things in your article particularly touched a sympathetic nerve with me:

  1. Your opening statement: I'll name names. ;-) OpenOffice.org has taken a fundamentally flawed design and made it into an open source fundamentally flawed design. In my mind, that's not an improvement. Take for example Word/Writer's pathetic excuse for "reveal codes" vs. WordPerfect's. Or the idea of bundling code within what is essentially a document, with no obvious means of decoupling them (again, unlike WP).

  2. Documenting later, and related to that documentation akin to "It's just like X only different". This really ties development to the core developers or those willing to go through the hazing ritual to become one of the frat boys. I cannot tell you the number of projects I've gotten involved with that claim to be much better than another, only to find that in order to begin using them, you first have to go learn the worse product, so that you can unlearn them.

  3. CVS. Or permanent beta/permanent disclaimer. It's a nice way to wash hands of having a working product. But when something is labeled "beta" for three or four years... Either promote the damned subversion repository to live status, or stop telling people not to use the version that is on the home page of the project. "The public version is broken, whereas the CVS version is merely not working." Fat lot of help that is.

So, many thanks for the article!